Recently featured on BuzzFeed News and Thrive Spice Podcast, this Asian-American activist had been raised to condone silence. Now condemning the mute button, his mission is to amplify potentiality in the voices of others.
A young Thai-American boy was once convinced that ignorance rejects existence. That the taunts of his outside world would become real only if he chose to acknowledge them. That there was safety in remaining silent, and safety was preferable to justice.
Recognized as leading the birth of a generation of Asian American activists at only 18 years old, this multifaceted creative and Boston University student now rejects the deafening silence he was once taught to accept. Photographer, Faux Divinity magazine founder and president of social activist platform Asians Speak Up, Arin Siriamonthep dedicates his life to combating societal restraints and remaining outspoken in a world that demands compliance.
“We’ve established that our platform is for sharing stories because we want to show that there’s a face to the Asian community,” he said. “We’re more than quotes. We want people to share their story, to be proud of who they are.”
Siriamonthep, an impassioned artist by his own definition, self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie, and son of first-generation Thai immigrants, was raised in a household environment where introversion was incentivized and ignorance was bliss. Anti-Asian racism conversations were strictly taboo. Despite his parents’ efforts to articulate silence as security, Siriamonthep recognized his abstinence of voice as a suppressive tool that would render him invisible if he chose to tolerate it.
“It came to a breaking point where I couldn’t keep living in silence.”
With the inevitable alternative in mind, he transformed himself into the change he sought most. Complacency with anti-Asian racism was no longer a viable option.
During his senior year of high school on Long Island, New York, Siriamonthep founded Asians Speak Up, a network of social activist platforms with the objective of enlightening its viewers through anecdotal narratives and educational resources on prejudice against the Asian community.
From a young age, Siriamonthep recalls being subjected to racially-motivated hatred, most often in the form of “derogatory names and ethnic slurs,” that persist to this day. His platform, Asians Speak Up, has carved out an inclusive domain for Asian-Americans where stories like his are invited, expressed and shared.
He assures his expanding Asians Speak Up community that its socially progressive endeavors won’t be limited to stories and quotations. Siriamonthep is currently planning for upcoming collaborative events, including rallies, peaceful protests, and art auction-competition hybrids. “All proceeds will go to one charitable donation for an organization that funds Asian Americans in the arts,” he explained. “I want to be creative while getting people interested.”
While his process of spearheading Asian social activism is nothing short of ambitious, Siriamonthep’s intentions are transparent.
“Be proud of who you are. If you’re close-minded, you will be unsuccessful in the discussions you end up having,” he said. “I just want to spread love.”
Gabriella Sproba, Multimedia Director
Gabriella Sproba is a dual degree sophomore in the College of Communication and Questrom School of Business studying Media Science and Marketing. Her lifelong adoration of art has manifested into passions surrounding photography, illustration, poetry, music history, fashion and graphic design. As the Multimedia Director and photographer for The COMmunicator, she is thrilled to explore and share the dynamic qualities of narrative through her creative work.